…sharing the love of Christ with Athens and the world!

Sunday School Classes Pre Kindergarten – Grade 5

Sunday School for Pre K – 5th Grade, Children’s Ministry Suite
The Sunday School year begins in late August and concludes in mid May. Godly Play is our Sunday School curriculum for children, Pre Kindergarten – 5th Grade. We have three Godly Play Rooms located in the Children’s Ministry Suite: Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade Godly Play Room 127, 2nd and 3rd Grade Godly Play Room 126, and 4th and 5th Grade Godly Play Room 124. Godly Play is an innovative way of teaching and learning that helps children “discover” who God is rather than being “told” who God is. Both the structure and routine of Godly Play and the classrooms themselves offer children a safe space to explore, connect, wonder, and worship God. Please click here to learn more about Godly Play.

Our Godly Play Sunday Morning Routine 

Getting Ready and Building the Circle (9:45 a.m.)
A Godly Play Guide (doorkeeper) will be seated by each of the Godly Play Room doors ready to greet each child by name and welcome them to join the Godly Play circle with their church friends and Godly Play storyteller.

Entering the Story (9:50 a.m.)
The storyteller will begin by asking the children if they are ready to hear a story and to take a few slow deep breaths to help calmly center their bodies and minds so that they can focus on the Bible story that is about to be presented. Each Sunday we will enter into one of the sacred stories of the Old or New Testament, engage with a parable, or participate in a liturgical action lesson.

Wondering (10:10 a.m.)
After the story, the storyteller will sit back for a moment to enjoy the story and then begin presenting a series of statements beginning with the phrase, “I wonder….”  These statements give the children the opportunity to explore the story further, to investigate what it might mean to them, to ponder different ideas the story awakens in them. These questions invite children to think about where they see themselves in the story, to wonder if there are any parts of the story which we could leave out and still have everything we need, to consider which part of the story was most important, or to ask what something in a parable might “really be.” The storyteller does not interpret or judge any answers but merely acknowledges them.

Prayer and Response Time (10:20 a.m.) – Following our time of wonder, the storyteller and children will join together in prayer. Then the children will be invited to create a response to the story or the themes that may have come up in our wondering. And how the children respond to the story or wondering time is their choice. Children may choose to “play” with story materials located on the Godly Play shelves or they may choose to work with a variety of art supplies and building materials. Another option for response time is to choose to work or spend quiet time out in the Prayer Garden located in the Courtyard. A “work in progress” space is available in each Godly Play Room for children to place unfinished work that they would like to continue to work on the following Sunday.

Restoring our Godly Play Rooms (10:40 a.m.) – Godly Play Guides (storyteller and doorkeeper) and children share in the stewardship of the Godly Play Rooms. All work together to restore the room so that the room is ready for the next Sunday morning. Safe cleaning materials are accessible to the children in each Godly Play Room.

Closing Circle (10:45 a.m.) – After the room has been restored, the children and Godly Play Guides will build a closing circle and sing our Sunday blessing. As parents arrive the doorkeeper will call each child’s name to join their parents in the big room of the Children’s Ministry Suite.

Ten Best Ways for Parents
One Godly Play lesson tells children about the “Ten Best Ways” to live – the Ten Commandments that God gave to God’s People. Here we offer “Ten Best Ways” for parents, not commandments, but ways we invite you, the parent, to share more fully in your child’s Godly Play experience.

  1. Godly Play sessions take place on Sunday Mornings from 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. during the Sunday School Year. Please help your children be on time. The story will begin at 9:50 a.m.
  2. Bring your children to Godly Play as much as possible. The Bible stories told every Sunday in Godly Play connect and go in order. We start at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis every new Sunday School year and journey our way through the Old and New Testament. When children hear these stories multiple times, they quickly realize that the Bible is a set of stories about God’s people that tells one BIG STORY. And the stories also become personal to the children helping them develop language to describe their own spiritual experiences.
  3. The Godly Play circle is built slowly and lovingly, to welcome each child, one at a time. When children arrive, they wait outside the door while the doorkeeper helps them get ready to join the circle.
  4. Please say your goodbyes at the door and know that our Godly Play Guides are ready to make the next hour a safe and welcoming time for every child.
  5. When you pick up your child, keep in mind that young children will not always be able to tell you what they learned, because what they learned was how to learn about the powerful language of the Christian people.
  6. Also keep in mind that children will not always be able to show you a physical product for their “work” that day, because some of what they’ve learned cannot be put into words even by In Godly Play, we focus on our relationship with God and the depths of relationships in the community of children.
  7. Please do not come into the room during class because we want the Godly Play Room to be a special place for the community of children. Even the Godly Play Guides (adults) keep their profiles low during a Godly Play session.
  8. We would be happy to welcome you on a visit to the Godly Play Room outside of session time. Contact Natalie Bishop to arrange a visit or to ask any questions you might have about Godly Play.
  9. We welcome parent volunteers to support the community of children and Godly Play Guides by providing fruit for our Feast Sundays (first Sunday of every month during the Sunday School year). Please sign up to serve as a Feast Family. You do not need to buy a lot of fruit for Feast Sundays. We just need enough for everyone to have a light snack. The purpose of the feast is spiritual nourishment rather than “filling up our tummies” type of nourishment.
  10. And finally, the best way to understand Godly Play is to experience Godly Play. Parents will be invited to join our Godly Circle multiples times during the Sunday School year.